Gold Coast Team (QLD)
Meets 7:15-10pm every Friday night at Surfers Paradise on Cavill Avenue.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
Rick, Glenda, Chris and Blake joined me today at the Gold Coast and it was a beautiful sunny day. After praying together, we started our outreach. We noticed that there was a crowd already gathered near the area where we usually preach and so I thought it was a great idea to start preaching straight away.
After preaching for about half an hour, I stepped down and had a conversation with two guys on holidays from a nation in the pacific. They obviously had some sort of Catholic upbringing, for they mentioned that they plan on having their sins forgiven by a priest absolving them of it. So I explained the message of God's justice, that God cannot forgive them simply by going to a priest because God is good. Then I explained the message of God's grace, that Christ can take the wrath of God that they deserve on their behalf by dying for them if they repent and trust in the Saviour's death as the only reason they are saved. At that point, it seemed to 'click' in their mind, and thanked me very much for telling about it. They said they would think seriously about this and start reading the Bible.
Blake then did some preaching too and he faithfully proclaimed loud and clear the message of the gospel. After he got down from the preaching spot, he got into a discussion with a guy from Sydney. While at the same time I chatted to his mate. They both had some sort of Roman Catholic background, but the guy I spoke to was very keen on the idea of sin. He loved it and was unwilling to turn from it even though he knew the consequences of it.
Meanwhile, the guy Blake was talking to had a hard time understanding grace. Firstly, he thought he was saved by his works and that he was a very good guy. After showing him the extent of his sin, Blake explained the gospel. The conversation went for over an hour as Blake explained in many different ways the atonement that is only by grace through faith alone. By the end, he did seem to understand it.
After that, we had lunch together and had some good fellowship. It was Chris' second time out on the streets with us and she did a wonderful job again handing out tracts. Rick and Glenda have been very good guiding and teaching her how to evangelise. Rick and Glenda also handed out many tracts and had some good witnessing encounters today.
To God be the glory!
PS: If you are ever in the Gold Coast area, feel free to be part of the Gold Coast team, for as Jesus said, the workers are few but the harvest is plentiful. Please contact me for more information to be part of the team.
Today on the team we had Blake, Yarran, Dan, Ori and myself. It was warm day with the sun brightly shining. Just before Yarran, Dan and Ori arrived, Blake and I had a conversation with two middle-aged guys. One of the guys was rather strange, yelling at random times and changing topics constantly. He was arguing that the dead sea scrolls were discovered 400 years before Isaiah, yet he didn't present any evidence to support it, much less present a reason for arguing that.
He then went on to speak about how he thinks Genesis references aboringines in relation to the serpent being cursed. Like most things he said, I did not understand what he was trying to say. But I kept the conversation going, for while this was happening, Blake managed to have a conversation with the other fellow who seemed much more reasonable. I kept trying to bring back the conversation to sin, judgment, gospel, etc but the man just kept avoiding the topic. Blake told me afterwards that he had a conversation with the guy he chatted to where he was able to present the great news of Christ atoning death on the cross.
I was the preacher first up, and started off by talking about a day that is coming, and that is judgment day. After talking about sin, I preached about the great news of the salvation we have in Jesus. A few people heckled me for a bit, and afterwards I chatted to them further.
Blake then got up to preach, and a one point an older gentleman started yelling at Blake. He was saying, "Where is your badge? You cannot preach without a bradge identifying your religion! Show me your badge!" This grew a rather large crowd, and a number of the people listening defended Blake and responded to the man saying that we have freedom of speech in this country and people do not need badges in this country. They then pointed to Blake's Bible that he was holding and said that that is like his badge if you want him to have one. The man responded, "In my country, you need badge!! Where is your badge!" The man eventually left, but a crowd had gathered and so Blake was able to preach the gospel to them all.
The other three members of the team also faithfully handed out many gospel tracts and got into various conversations. Please pray that God will grow the seeds of the gospel that were planted in people's hearts today.
To God be the glory!
This weekend, the SuperGP cars were supposed to race on the streets of Surfers Paradise. They didn't end up coming and so only the V8 Supercars raced. However, there were still lots of people about and so Blake and I expected a busy day. After reading John 15 and praying together, we began our outreach. There were not many people around the area where we usually preach, so we decided to walk closer to the where the race was taking place to see if there were any places to preach there. There wasn't really, as the car noises would drown the preaching out. So we just made a circuit back to the esplanade, handing out tracts on the way.
By this time, more people were around the area where we usually preach, but unfortunately there was a guy sitting on the concrete block that we usually preach from. So we decided to continue handing out tracts while we wait for the man to move along. He didn't, even after waiting half an hour. So Blake and I then prayed that God would free up the preaching spot, and then read again some of the verses in John 15 regarding God answering prayer. And within 10 seconds of us doing this, the man moved off the preaching spot! Praise be to God!
I then began preaching and within minutes a large crowd had gathered. When I mentioned that getting drunk is a sin, a lot of the people were outraged at that thought. I also mentioned that Jesus said lust is adultery at the heart. And a lot of the males listening called out that that is the reason why they come to the Gold Coast, to do exactly that. I warned everyone that our sin makes us deserving of Hell, but that is why Jesus came to die on the cross to pay for that sin. But a person must repent and trust in Christ's death on the cross as the only reason that they'll be going to Heaven, in order to be saved.
Throughout the course of the preaching I did there that day: Twice an angry fellow ripped the Bible I was holding out of my hands and was going to run away with it until his friends stopped him. Another fellow at one point pushed me off the preaching block I was standing on. But the crowd was on my side, saying that I have the right to do this. And another guy that was sitting next to preaching spot drinking alcohol who tied my shoelaces together while I was preaching. But all these things did was to attract a larger and larger crowd. A crowd of about 100 was listening for about the two hours I preached for, with many of them asking all sorts of questions. And by the end, there were still lots of people listening wanting to hear more, but I got down from the preaching spot (as it was now approaching 5pm (2 hours longer than normal) and we had to make our way to Brisbane city for the outreach there that night) and so we simply handed out tracts to them all.
I had a chat with one fellow afterwards that had been listening and he thought he was going to Heaven, but on the basis of his works. So I explained the gospel to him, and asked him, "If God was to ask you the question: Why should I let you into Heaven, what would you say?" His response showed he still did not understand grace. So I explained it again to him and asked him the same question. This time he understood the gospel and said, "It's only because of Jesus' death on the cross I will go to Heaven!" The man was overjoyed that he now understood the gospel and started believing it. Please keep him in prayer, his name is Fred.
Even though there were just two of us today, God saw fit to allow the gospel to go out. Please pray that God will raise up more laborers to enter His harvest, for the harvest is truly plentiful. If you live nearby and are keen to get involved in this outreach, please do contact me.
To God be the glory!
I thought it might just be me at the coast today, but as I was walking towards Cavil Avenue after parking my car, Blake beeped at me. I was very glad Blake was able to join me today, as it definitely is better witnessing and preaching having another person with you. As I was waiting for Blake to arrive on the esplanade, I handed some tracts to a large group of young people. They wanted to know what it was about and so I asked them whether they thought they were going to go to Heaven. Most said yes, some jokingly said no. The reason why most of them thought they were going to Heaven was because they considered themselves to be good people. So I let them know of the standard that God will judge them after they die and they admitted that they actually deserve Hell. Some of the group were very concerned about this fact, while others remarked that they love sin too much to even consider stopping it. So I shared the news of the cross with the group and talking about how someone can be forgiven if they repent and trust in the death of Jesus alone for their forgiveness.
At this point, another whole group of young people joined in listening to the conversation taking place as they were obviously friends of the people I was talking to. So I explained the message again to everyone to solidify it in their minds.
Just before I got up to preach, a young guy came up and chatted to me and we starting talking about things of eternity. At first he seemed open to the message, however he at random points would just have outbursts of anger and throw the things he was holding around. Possibly something demonic as when I was preaching he so vehemently opposed the Word of God that he got very angry, but when the Word of God was not being spoken about, he would be fine.
Still before I got up to preach, a young girl came and chatted to me, saying that she got 'saved' at age 7 but left Church at age 13. She was now about 15 and realised that she should return, but admitted she just loves sin so much. So I explained how it is so important to receive the forgiveness that Jesus offers as soon as possible for death could happen at any moment and Hell is a very bad place. Then I explained, "But Jesus died to save you from that only if you repent (hate sin instead of loving it, and thus you'll start turning from it) and trust in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross."
An analogy that I like to use to show that it is foolish to choose sin over salvation is this: "Imagine that you are in a house, and you are doing a very fun activity inside. Then you notice the house is getting warmer and there is smoke around, and so you conclude that the house is on fire. Now what would you do: Just sit there because you are doing something so fun, and then you'll get burnt up and die? Or would you run out the house? Obviously run out of the house. In the same way, that is like your life. For it is as if the flames of Hell are coming closer and closer towards you, for the amount of time you have got left to live is getting shorter and shorter. So would you say: 'I would rather keep on sinning' and then you will receive an eternity in Hell? Or would you flee from the flames of Hell by trusting in the death of Jesus, and you will also receive an eternity in Heaven? Which is the better the option?"
I then got up to preach and there was a bunch of hecklers who I was able to engage in a discussion with to draw a larger crowd. These guys were mostly atheistic and some were possibly drunk, but it drew in a rather large crowd to hear the gospel message being preached for 45 minutes.
After having a bite to eat, Blake got up to preach and he preached a brilliant sermon. He started off by getting everyone's attention by telling them there is something they need to hear that is urgent. He preached for 45 minutes and the group of young people that I chatted to at the start of the day had returned and sat and listened to most of what Blake had to say.
To God be the glory!
After arriving at the coast, I read a couple chapters in the Bible and then starting handing out gospel tracts. Dave, a mate whom I have been evangelising with before was up at the Gold Coast with his wife for a few days and was able to join me today.
After a short amount of time, I was in a witnessing encounter with a Jehovah's Witness. He was an older gentleman, but was not really interested in hearing what the Bible had to say. He asked for me to prove the trinity from the Bible, so I pointed to verses like John 1:1, John 8:58, etc. and he simply responded by saying that he thinks I'm taking all those verses out of context. His argument mainly consisted of: The word 'trinity' is not found in the Bible, therefore the Bible does not teach the trinity -- obviously a fallacious argument.
He also tried to redefine what 'trinity' means, by saying that it means God is three in persons and one in persons at the same time. With the straw man view of the trinity that he presented, he then tried pointing to John 14:28 where Jesus says that the Father is greater than He is. So I corrected him repeatedly about the incorrect definition he gave of the trinity. I said that it actually means: Three in persons, one in being - but he wasn't even willing to concede that point. And so with the correct definition of the trinity, that verse does not at all go against it.
He then resorted to pulling out some Watchtower material and said: "See! It says in this pamphlet that the trinity is not in the Bible". So I responded by saying that the Watchtower organisation is not on the same level as Scripture, in fact it's an organisation that has beliefs so contrary to Scripture that it makes them unable to even be called 'Christian'.
At this point in time, a kind gentleman came over and said, "I heard you preaching on Sunday, I'm a Christian on holidays from Melbourne, here is a cool drink for you." It is really cool how God provides these sorts of encouragements along the way. The Jehovah's Witness then left.
I didn't preach at all today because the council had put about 15 bins grouped together around the spot where I usually preach, for no seemingly-obvious reason. However, I did have a great conversation with a guy named Duncan. He grew up in Sydney and had recently moved to the Gold Coast to study advertising at Bond University. He had been to Church a number of times in the past, however he was very confused about the whole thing, and his mother is into witchcraft. So I was able to witness to him and share the wonderful news about Christ dying on the cross for all our sins if we trust that He has done that for us and repent. I made sure that this fellow understood the gospel properly and after sharing with him the hard costs of following Jesus, he made a profession of faith. I chatted with him for almost an hour, please keep this guy in prayer.
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
I was joined by Rick, Glenda and Chris today at the Gold Coast. It was Chris' first time out on the streets with us, and she was very excited to be part of the team. After praying together, we started handing out tracts to everyone going past us.
I then got up to preach and after not long, there were a number of hecklers. Many were asking how can I believe in God. So I responded by pointing out that creation is absolute proof of the God, for we know that things don't come into being without a cause, and since the universe had a beginning, the universe must have had a cause as well. And that is what we define as God; God is the creator of the universe. A number of them understood this point and eventually agreed. By this time, a crowd of at least 50 people had gathered to listen to the discussion taking place.
I then had one young guy ask a number of questions that he had been pondering for a while, the first one being about how can an all-powerful God let suffering occur. After I responded to that question, he then asked about homosexuality. So I responded by saying that the Bible says any sort of sex outside of marriage is sin, heterosexual or homosexual. He then mentioned that he was a homosexual. So I explained that homosexuality is not an unforgivable sin. Anybody can be forgiven of whatever they have done in life if they acknowledge firstly that they don't deserve Heaven, but instead deserve God's punishment in Hell. Then they trust that Jesus came 2000 years ago, lived a perfect life and died on the cross to pay for all their sins. If they do truly have that faith, they will also repent - that is, hate sin and start turning from it.
At this point in time, a police officer came up and stood in the crowd and listened. I was hoping that he wouldn't stop us preaching. Rick later told me that someone had gone up to the officer while he was standing in the crowd and asked whether we had a permit to preach. But after a few minutes, the officer just walked away without touching us. Praise God! That was an answer to prayer, for as soon as he started walking away, I knew that the other members on the team would have been praying that the police officer wouldn't make us stop. And I found out later they were. God is so good! :)
After about an hour of preaching, I got down from the preaching spot and started chatting with those who had been listening and then had come up to me afterwards. At this point in time, the young guy who had asked a lot of the questions wanted to speak with me but I was in a conversation with some other people. So Glenda had conversation with him for about half an hour and was able to answer a lot of his questions.
After having a bite to eat, we returned to the esplanade and Rick got up to preach. The same young guy returned and asked Rick some more questions that he wanted to know the answers to. Rick was able to answer them and share the gospel with him again. Please pray that God will convert this young man.
To God be the glory for another great day of outreach!
As I made my way down to the Gold Coast, I knew it would be busy at Surfers Paradise. For today was the start of school holidays, so this is when lots of people take the liberty to get away from home and go to the beach. Unfortunately, everyone else who usually takes part on the team was busy today and couldn't make it. Nevertheless, the gospel still needed to go out, and so I went.
So I stocked myself up with gospel tracts and when I arrived, I started handing out the gospel tracts I had. It took me a while to get into the swing of things, but after having a conversation with two young adults who were very proud of their sinful lifestyle and so did not want to trust in Christ, that really showed me the true depravity of man and that they really need the gospel, and so spurred me on to be more bold in sharing the gospel.
I had a chat with a fellow, aged around his thirties, I noticed he was holding a book about crop circles and other mystical things. So I struck up a conversation with him, asking him where he thinks he'll spend eternity. He then proceeded to talk about how he accepts Jesus, but not the Bible. When I asked him how then we know about Jesus, he said that it's simply through mystical means. He thought that we all came from aliens and that the Bible came from them as well. I managed to share the gospel with him, however he was very hard-hearted and said that he didn't need the salvation of Jesus. Please pray for this man as he is cleverly deceived by some sort of paganism.
After talking with some more people and handing out lots of tracts, I got up to preach. I preached about how people love holidays, a time to get away and relax. However, holidays are also a time when many people ignore God and ignore the most important question in life, that is, "Where will they spend eternity?" But you see, more people die on the roads during holiday periods than when people are not on holidays. That is why it is crucial to think where you are going to go after you die, even though you may be holidays. I then proceeded to share about the sinfulness of man, the coming judgment and the great news of the cross.
By this stage, a crowd of about 75 had gathered and there were a number of hecklers. One of the most vocal hecklers was objecting to the exclusivity of Christ; he did not seem to understand how Jesus could say that He is the only way. So I explained the difference between the two different religions in the world (for there are only two), the religion of 'do' and the religion of 'done'. In the category of 'do' is every other religion besides Christianity, for they say you get to Heaven by doing a certain amount of good things. However we know that no just judge could let a criminal go simply because he may have done a certain amount of good things in his life. Thus every other religion's gods must be unjust, yet all say their god is just. However, that is contradiction, therefore meaning that their religions are not true all the time.
I then explained that in the category of 'done' is Christianity alone. For we cannot do anything to get to Heaven. Instead, God provides the way of salvation by the death of Jesus paying for all our sins. So we simply need to trust that He has done that for us to be forgiven. And if someone has that trust in Jesus, they will also repent of their sins.
There were many other questions presented by all those that heckled, but most importantly, the gospel was preached. And so for that, I say: To God be the glory!!
When I arrived at the coast, I saw some people from a local Church doing evangelism at Surfers Paradise, it sure is encouraging to see other people fulfilling the Great Commission as well. Not long after I arrived, Yarran and Daniel showed up, and after praying together we went straight into witnessing.
One of first conversations I had was with an elderly lady, and when I asked whether she thought she would go to Heaven, she responded, "No, I don't want to go to Heaven. I'm going to live on the Earth forever." By her response, I thought that she was most likely a Jehovah's Witness, for they teach Heaven is only for a select 144,000, and the rest of the JW's will simply live on the Earth forever. She was a JW, and had been one for a lot of her life. I asked her, "If you're going to be on the 'renewed' Earth forever and you sin, what will happen to you?" She said that she would be annihilated (as they don't believe in Hell). I asked, "Isn't that going to be a sad existence on the 'renewed' Earth, that you have to worry about not sinning or else you are out of there?" She didn't seem to want to admit that.
I chatted to her about many different topics, ranging from Salvation, Christology, Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Heaven and Hell. I pointed out references to her like John 8:58 that prove the deity of Christ. I also pointed her to John 2:19-21, showing that Jesus did say he was going to bodily rise from the dead, while the Watchtower denies this. She did not know how to respond to the verses presented and then seemed to want to leave the conversation. So I stressed with her that she needs to really start thinking about these things and start reading what the Scriptures really say, and that if she does, she'll find out that the Watchtower is actually deceiving her.
I then got up to preach for a bit. There was one heckler who stayed for a short time who was trying to argue that he believes in Jesus, but said that we can't trust the Bible. So I asked him, "How then do we know anything about Jesus (except the cross), if not from the Bible?" He didn't seem to have an answer.
Near the end of the outreach, Yarran had a very good conversation with Grace and Eshore, who were both on holidays from Taiwan. They had never heard anything of the Christian message before. They seemed very interested and eager to learn more. So we gave them Bibles and encouraged them to read it and contact us if they have any questions. Please pray for them.
To God be the glory for another great day of evangelism!
It was a warm day today and so it was very busy at Surfers Paradise. Daniel, Rick, Glenda, Amy and I were part of the team today. I got up to preach not long after midday, and within moments there was a loud vocal heckler objecting to what I was saying. He asked the question, "How do you know that Christianity is true?" I responded by giving some reasons about why we can know the resurrection of Jesus really did happen. The fellow argued that you cannot trust anything in the Bible because it is something written down. So I responded, "If you cannot trust anything written down, then you cannot know about pretty much anything that has happened in the past. For example, the main reason why we know that Alexander the Great conquered thousands of years ago is because of the historical documents written down about him. We know that there was a great fire in Rome in 70AD because of the historical documents written about it. In the same way, we can know that Jesus lived, died, and even rose from the dead because of the historical documents written about those events." The guy wasn't interested in listening however, but rather simply to keep repeating his own opinion. But God had found it fit to use this discussion that was going on to draw in a crowd of about 100 people, and there was a decent crowd for the whole hour and quarter that I preached.
When I was explaining the gospel message, so many of the people listening objected when I mentioned that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. That same main vocal heckler that I was discussing with earlier said that I can't say that all other religions are wrong. So I asked him, "Are you saying that it is wrong for me to say that all other religions are wrong?" He said, "Yes!" So I pointed out that his own statement is self-refuting, for he is saying that it is wrong for me to say that someone else is wrong, yet he himself is telling me I am wrong. Basically, he's doing the very thing he's condemning me for doing. That's hypocrisy at its finest.
I explained to the crowd that I can say Jesus is the only way because in no other religion is there a Saviour, that is, one who can pay the penalty for our sins instead of us. For in Christ, God shows mercy towards us, but not by overlooking our sin, but rather by punishing Jesus for our sins and thus by that, He satisfies God's justice.
After stepping down from the preaching box, I was greeted by an Assyrian Christian from Iraq. He was absolutely delighted to hear the Word of God being preached in the open air, that he even shouted us all lunch.
After lunch we continued handing out gospel tracts and witnessing to various people. To God be the glory for another wonderful day of outreach!
It was a smaller team today, consisting of just Jamie and I. Craig Ireland also came down and witnessed for part of the afternoon with us. I did a bit of open air preaching and there were a few hecklers, but they didn't stay long enough to have a meaningful dialogue.
After preaching, a couple guys who I had witnessed to before asked me to come unto the beach to witness to their mate. So I went there and explained the message of sin, the judgment, and the cross to them all. During this discussion with them, two people sitting not far from us seemed to be listening and one interjected that she thought God was not a God that would judge people. She thought she was a good person and definitely deserved Heaven. So I quoted some Scriptures to her about how God is a judge and that we are not good people. But it was obvious that she didn't want to conform her beliefs to the Word of God, and instead had portrayed a god in the image that she wanted him to be. As the group got larger, I was able to share the gospel with the new participants, and since the different groups of people on the beach seemed to be sitting very close to one another, I could see two other people not far from us that were intently listening as well.
The original people I was talking to openly admitted that they would rather keep going in their lifestyle of sin, rather than repent and trust in Christ. They had all sorts of questions about Christianity, and so the conversation with them lasted over an hour. Please pray that God draws them unto Himself.
Many other conversations were had and a lot of gospel tracts went out. To God be the glory for another wonderful day of witnessing!